POETIC LICENCE: Bush family’s awkward secret — II
The business of Bush
Shortly after Bush sold his stock in 1990, Harken’s fortunes nose-dived when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Some critics claim that President Bush Senior tipped off Bush Junior in advance about the coming Gulf War
As stated in the first part of this article, one of President George W. Bush’s earliest financial backers was James Bath, a Houston aircraft broker. Bath served with Bush in the Texas Air National Guard. “Bath has a mysterious connection with the CIA,” says a report published in American Freedom News (AFN). Bush’s father, George Herbert Walker Bush, was director of the CIA in the mid-1970s.
Bath’s relationship with the bin Laden financial empire and the CIA was made public in 1992 by Bill White, a former real estate business partner with Bath. White informed US federal investigators in 1992 that Bath had told him that he had assisted the CIA in a liaison role since 1976, when Bush Senior was director of the CIA.
White told a Texas court in 1992 that Bath and the US Justice Department had “blackballed” him professionally and financially because he refused to keep quiet about his knowledge of a “conspiracy” to launder Middle Eastern money.
In sworn depositions, Bath admitted he represented four wealthy Saudi businessmen as a trustee. According to the AFN report, he also admitted he used his name on their investments and received, in return, a five per cent stake in their business deals. Texas tax documents revealed that Bath owned five per cent of Arbusto ‘79 Ltd. and Arbusto ‘80 Ltd., the general partnership firm owned by young George W. Bush.
Although Bush’s Texas oil ventures were financial failures, his financial backers — including Osama bin Laden’s late older brother, Salem bin Laden, who was an investor in Arbusto Energy — recovered their investments through a series of mergers and stock swaps.
Bush changed Arbusto’s name to Bush Exploration, and then merged the new firm into Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation in 1984. The George W. Bush-controlled oil business eventually ended up being folded into Harken Energy Corp., a Dallas-based corporation. Bush joined Harken as a director in 1986 and was given 212,000 shares of Harken stock. At that time, Bush’s father was vice-president of the United States.
Bush Junior used his White House connections to land a lucrative contract for the obscure Harken Energy Corp. with the government of Bahrain. According to the AFN report, the Bahrain deal was brokered by David Edwards, a close friend of Bill Clinton and a former employee of Stephens, Inc. Shortly after Bush sold his stock in 1990, Harken’s fortunes nose-dived when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Some critics claim that President Bush Senior tipped of Bush Junior in advance about the coming Gulf War.
George W. Bush, however, worked wonders for Harken Energy Corp. before the stock collapsed. Using the Bush family name, he managed to bring much-needed capital investment to the struggling firm. According to the AFN report, Bush travelled to Little Rock, Arkansas, to attend a meeting with Jackson Stephens — a powerful Arkansas tycoon who helped bankroll the state campaign for Bill Clinton.
Mary Anne Stephens, Stephens’ wife, managed Vice-President George Bush Senior’s 1988 presidential campaign in Arkansas. Stephens, Inc., the brokerage firm owned by Jack Stephens, donated $ 100,000 to a Bush campaign fundraising dinner in 1991. After George W. Bush won the controversial vote count in Florida in the 2000 presidential election, Jack Stephens made a substantial financial contribution to the Bush inauguration celebrations.
According to the AFN report, Stephens arranged for a $ 25 million investment from the Union des Banques Suisse in the 1980s. The Swiss bank held the minority interest in the Banque de Commerce et de Placements, a Geneva-based subsidiary of the now defunct BCCI, which was shutdown by international regulators in July 1991.
Both Stephens and Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, a wealthy and well-connected Saudi real estate investor, signed the financial transaction. According to the AFN report, the Geneva transaction was paid through a joint venture between the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Geneva branch of BCCI.
The BCCI connection, therefore, linked George W. Bush to Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz. Mahfouz held a 20 per cent stake in BCCI between 1986 and 1990. According to the AFN report, “Mahfouz is no stranger to the Bush family. He was a big investor in the Carlyle Group, a defence-industry investment group with deep connections to the Republican party establishment.”
Former President Bush is a former member of Carlyle’s board of directors. George W. Bush also held shares in Caterair, a Carlyle subsidiary.
According to the AFN report, five top Saudi businessmen ordered the Mahfouz-controlled National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia to transfer personal funds and $ 3 million from a Saudi pension fund to the Capitol Trust Bank in New York City. According to the AFN report, the money was deposited in charities “operating in the US and Great Britain as fronts for Osama bin Laden.”
“The Capitol Trust Bank is run by Mohammad Hussein al-Amoudi,” the AFN report said. “His lawyer is Democratic Party bigwig Vernon Jordan, close friend of former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.”
According to the AFN report, Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, the Saudi businessman who co-signed the $ 25 million cash infusion into George W. Bush’s Harken Energy Corporation, appointed Talat Othman to manage his share in Harken Energy. Othman, a native Palestinian, is president and chief executive officer of Dearborn Financial, Inc. — an investment firm.
According to the AFN report, American journalist David Twersky reported in the early 1990s that Othman had a seat on Harken Energy’s board of directors and met three times with President Bush Senior. Othman’s first meeting with President Bush Senior was in August 1990, just days after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
The AFN report said: “There exists to this day an Arab-Texas connection. Khalid bin Mahfouz, financier of both George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, still maintains a palatial estate in Houston, Texas. Former President George Bush also lives in Houston. James Bath, Texas political confidant of George W. Bush, managed to obtain a $ 1.4 million loan from Mahfouz in 1990. Bath and Mahfouz, along with former (US) Secretary of Treasury John Connally, were also co-investors in Houston’s Main Bank. Bath was also president of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Ltd., a Texas air charter company registered in the Cayman Islands. According to published reports in the early 1990s, the real owner was Khalid bin Mahfouz. When Salem bin Laden, Osama’s (older) brother, died (in an air crash in Texas) in 1988, his interest in the Houston Gulf Airport was transferred to bin Mahfouz.”
Following the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the US government moved quickly to freeze bank accounts connected to Osama bin Laden, Khalid bin Mahfouz and a host of charities.
Perhaps US federal agents should also freeze the financial assets of the Bush family. It would not be the first time that Bush-family assets were seized by the US government. The same thing happened in October and November 1942, when the American government seized the assets of several companies controlled by Prescott Bush (George W. Bush’s grandfather) for doing business with Hitler’s Third Reich.